PC Portable Lamp

Designed by Pierre Charpin for Danish design brand HAY, this PC Portable Lamp features a USB-rechargeable battery and an energy-efficient LED bulb within that produces a warm white glow. The light can be dimmed or brightened thanks to touch control. Made from ABS plastic that’s finished with a scratch- and water-resistant coating, the light comes in six colorways—some of which boast several hues. Standing just under nine inches tall, these lights can be used anywhere, but should be kept indoors when not in use.

This Maserati electric concept bike is a mashup of The Alien and stylized Tron DNA!

If Maserati builds a futuristic superbike, it would undoubtedly catch eyeballs, and this concept design truly deserves the Maserati badge. This superbike design by passionate motorhead Tomáš Klečka – a student from Brno, the Czech Republic – is certainly one that’s so ride-worthy. The electric two-wheeler looks inspired by the Xenomorph XX121 alien for its mean machine character. On the flip side, the superbike is just more than its flashy Trident logo.

The air vents on the sides are so reminiscent of the Maserati brand and the cars we’ve seen all these years. Big hubless wheels lend the Maserati electric concept bike the signature Tron bike character – and one can say – the ride is a striking image of the legendary superbike. A badass-styled set of wheels with the Xenomorph XX121 and Tron bike styling. Now, that’s quite rare, to be frank. The dark magenta color with the white stripe right in the middle is so Instagrammable. Add to that the big Maserati Trident logo and the creation is destined to be a dream ride for anyone who lays their eyes on it.

The low center of gravity of the Maserati electric concept and the forward-leaning position give it a street racing vibe. Perhaps it is a true reflection of the Maserati Motorcycles build between 1953 and 1960. Unfortunately, due to intense competition from other Italian motorbike makers, the division eventually shunned. So, as a tribute to the Maserati’s stint with the two-wheelers, who won’t want to own this beauty and park it on their porch? Tomáš has managed to inculcate the rich history of Maserati into the shape of a bike that’ll make you go week in the knees!

Designer: Tomáš Klečka

A Skyscraper Made of Stacked Farmhouses, Lifted by Crane Into the Structure

Here’s a fascinating proposed solution to the displaced Hmong population in China, whose farming communities are being displaced by modern planning. Xiangshu Kong, Xiaoyong Zhang and Mingsong Sun envision tall, skeletal structures built in the countryside, with farmhouses lifted into them by crane.

Mobility between units, both vertically and laterally, would be accomplished by a system of cable-car-like, human-sized birdcages that dovetail with traditional Hmong production techniques (see bottom illustration).

“Hmong in China is an ancient nationality, mainly living in Yunnan province. Hmong has its own language, architecture, and lifestyle. However, this group of special minority cultures is being gradually swallowed by modern culture. Many Hmong cultural customs have disappeared, and even many Hmong people’s houses have been demolished or will be.

“In order to build a well-off society in an all-around way, the Chinese government has issued relocation policies to the villages to help the Hmong stay away from their dilapidated places of residence and move to the suburbs of cities to provide a modern and affluent life. Although the original intention of the government is good, more and more ethnic minorities are unable to adapt to the new places of residence. They miss their arable land, yards, streams, and so on. We try to design a skyscraper. We try our best to keep farmers’ memory and lifestyle of their original hometown, and at the same time let them enjoy the convenience of modern urbanization.

“We extract the structure of the local stilt style building, extract the wooden skeleton, and then use the crane to move the original wooden house, combine the two to form the basic form of the skyscraper, and then more and more houses are moved to the skyscraper, and the skyscraper gradually lengthens laterally. To retain the local block form, we organized the scattered houses into several districts. At the same time, we used the roof as the traffic and platform to strengthen the traffic connection between the houses. Then we combine the functions needed by local residents, such as arable land, streams, dance square, forest, public spaces, etc. And constantly enrich our architectural space to preserve the lifestyle of the Hmong family.

“In the past, villages were far away from each other on different mountains. Hmong people hung cable cars on ropes to pass goods. At the same time, the Hmong people are good at making birdcages. We extract the form of birdcages, translate them into transfer boxes, and then use ropes to transfer boxes to meet the needs of traffic.”

The project won Third Place in the Evolo 2021 Skyscraper Competition.

The Convercycle: A Bicycle That Transforms to Cargo Bike Length

The last time we saw a transforming bicycle, it changed its wheelbase to alter ride height:

Rako Bikes

German bike manufacturer Convercycle, however, has designed a bicycle that can change its wheelbase for cargo functionality:

It’s a clever design, right down to the way the fender flips backwards. It’s also nice that the placement of a child seat doesn’t interfere (much) with the cargo area.

The Convercycle can carry 180kg (nearly 400 pounds) in the cargo bay, and an optional electric motor in the front hub gives you the oomph you’d need to move it.

And of course, in its compact form the Convercycle can do something a regular cargo bike can’t: It easily fits in an elevator or on the subway.

The base model runs €2,599 (USD $3,162), and the e-bike version is €3,799 (USD $4,621).

Pro-Plastic Publicity Stunt: The Museum of Plastic, With a 10-Day Lifespan

Spain-based EsPlásticos is a “plastics platform,” i.e. a sort of collective PR arm for European plastics manufacturers. “The main objective of the Platform is to publicize the sustainable solutions that plastics offer to the challenges of society,” they write, “as well as to highlight the many economic, technical, social and environmental advances that these unique materials have made and continue to make possible.” In other words, their mission is to dispel any negative connotations of the material.

Hence they’ve launched this publicity stunt: The Museum of Plastic, a temporary structure made out of you-know-what, erected outside of Spain’s National Museum in Madrid. Its projected lifespan is just ten days; opened last Saturday, it’s due to be torn down on May 17th–World Recycling Day–and recycled in its entirety, to remind the public that, yinno, plastic is recyclable.

Plastic is a wonderful material, and it’s wonderful that it’s technically recyclable. The problem is that the vast majority of plastic is never recycled. According to National Geographic, citing a global study from the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances, just 9% of plastic gets recycled.

The EPA, analyzing U.S. data, found just an 8.7% plastic recycling rate for 2018.

So both worldwide and in the U.S., the actual non-recycling rate of plastic is greater than 90%. If there was a car model that, more than 9 times out of 10, failed to safely convey its occupants to their destination, no one would call that car safe.

The Museum of Plastic will certainly be recycled, because people will be watching; hired camerapeople will be on hand to record it, and a team will be hired to edit and upload it. It’s a classic distraction technique. Unseen are the billions of people worldwide who won’t, can’t or simply don’t recycle their plastic. But plastics companies can keep their consciences clean, saying “Well, what do you want from us, we made the stuff recyclable.”

Industrial Design Student Work: Hélène Fontaine's Droplet, for Easier Dispensing of Medication

While pills are all the rage in America, in Europe “children and elderly people often get medicine prescribed in the form of drops,” writes Hélène Fontaine, “because they are easier to take than pills.” Fontaine is an Industrial Design student at Germany’s Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle, a/k/a Burg-Halle. (One of Germany’s largest art and design universities, Burg-Halle antedates the Bauhaus.) Her recent project, “Droplet,” addresses the difficulty of this dispensing method.

“Exact dosing of drops requires steady hands, good eyes, and much attention. Droplet offers a safe alternative to the regular bottles with a rim dropper or vertical dropper: By using a pump dispenser the medicine gets dosed precisely.

“The integrated spoon with a deep bowl collects the drops right away and the medicine can be taken without additional tools—even if you have a tremor, bad eyesight or can only use one hand.”

Droplet was awarded a 2021 Universal Design Prize.

"I will look for a diversity of approaches that promote novel ideas," says Dezeen Awards 2021 judge Maxwell Mutanda

Dezeen Awards 2021 judge Maxwell Mutanda

As we count down the days to enter Dezeen Awards 2021, creative director Maxwell Mutanda says he is looking forward to seeing submissions from all over the world.

Entries for Dezeen Awards closes 2 June. To help you with your finishing touches, we asked our judges to tell us what they’re hoping to see from entrants.

“I will specifically look for a diversity of approaches that promote novel ideas of everyday beauty,” says Mutanda, who will be judging this year’s entries alongside Virginia San Fratello, Ole Scheeren, Christina Seilern and Hanif Kara.

“My expectations from this year’s entries is an increase in geographic diversity, drawing from trends in South America, sub-Saharan Africa or South East Asia,” he added.

Mutanda uses multidisciplinary research combined with visual art and architecture to analyse the role of globalisation, climate and technology within the built environment.

Based in Zimbabwe, he is a creative director at Studio (D) Tale and a design fellow at returnable packaging service CupClub.

“Especially given the limitations presented by the pandemic, the awards are an excellent outreach opportunity for both established and emerging design studios,” said Mutanda.

“Since Dezeen is so well regarded and widely consumed by a well-informed audience, these awards, in particular, have a way of reaching business as well as non-professional audiences.”

Enter Dezeen Awards 2021 now

To have your work seen by our stellar lineup of judges, complete your entry today to ensure that you don’t miss the deadline on 2 June.

If you need help or have any questions, please contact our awards team at awards@dezeen.com.

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This sleek bookshelf-inspired air purifier finds an ingenious solution to our filter replacement problems!

COVID-19 has pretty much sealed all of us in our homes, and our attention is completely focused on maintaining a safe and clean environment inside our home. Air purifiers are now an essential appliance seen in almost every home. As the quality of air in our homes can greatly impact our lungs and respiratory system, and with the COVID-19 virus directly attacking our lungs, we need to ensure that the air we breathe is clean, breathable, and safe. And this is where air purifiers faithfully play their part! One air purifier that really caught my eye is the Bookstyle Air Purifier by Winiadimchae.

The Bookstyle Air Purifier is to purifiers as the IKEA x SONOS unveiling is to home speaker systems – it is a design made to merge with your home rather than stand out in it, creating an uninterrupted experience. The South Korean company created an air purifier whose filters not only look like books but have to be borrowed like a library book! The concept basically revolves around subscribing to a filter replacement system, wherein you receive the filter via a non-contact delivery system. We often need a variety of different filters to take care of our various air purifying needs. We may need a HEPA filter, or a filter for aroma, or even a filter that specifically caters to homes with babies. The diverse range of filters is stored in a large inventory at the logistic center, much like a large collection of books at a library! When the need for a filter replacement arrives, you place an order, and a filter is efficiently delivered to you, without any contact. The filter is even packaged like a book! The book-inspired filters can be slide and plugged into the air purifier as you would slide a book into a bookshelf. Up to 4 filters can easily fit into the air purifier, making it look like a wall-mounted bookshelf filled with books!

The Bookstyle Air Purifier is really an interesting innovation! It takes an ordinary air purifier and turns it into a product that can effortlessly merge with our home. Even the purifiers can be replaced and stored conveniently. And not to mention anyone who loves books, would love to add this book-inspired design to their home!

Designer: Winiadimchae

Founder of the world's largest architecture studio Art Gensler dies at 85

Architect and interior designer Art Gensler

Art Gensler, the American architect, interior designer and founder of global architecture firm Gensler, has passed away at the age of 85 after a long illness.

The founder of the world’s largest architecture firm died in his sleep at his family home in Mill Valley, Marin County, reported the San Franciso Chronicle.

Gensler founded his practice in San Francisco in 1965 with the late Drue Gensler, his wife, and James Follett. Today the firm operates in 50 countries around the world and has an annual revenue of $1.5 billion.

Shanghai Tower by Gensler
Top: Art Gensler founded the world’s largest architecture studio. Photo by Emily Hagopian. Above: the Shanghai Tower by Gensler. Photo by Blackstation.

Despite being diagnosed with lung disease 18 months ago, Gensler had continued to work for his practice and still had a full calendar of meetings scheduled when he died.

“My dad was a regular guy, respectful and friendly and never pompous,” his son David Gensler said. “He loved serving clients through the power of design.”

Gensler is known for large-scale architecture projects including the 632-metre-high supertall skyscraper the Shanghai Tower, which is the world’s second-tallest building.

Architect and interior designer Art Gensler
Art Gensler has passed away at the age of 85

Gensler was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1935. The son of a phone company employee and a ceiling tiles salesman, he grew up in West Hartford, Connecticut, and graduated from Cornell University’s College of Architecture in 1958.

Following university, he moved to California on the advice of his mentor the architecture critic Henry Hill and worked for the architect William Wurster, while establishing his own practice.

The firm got its start designing interiors for corporate offices in San Francisco skyscrapers designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. They worked on the 237-metre-high Bank of America Center (renamed 555 California Street) and then the 121-metre-high Alcoa Building (now One Maritime Plaza).

The practice opened its first office at 555 Clay Street in San Francisco, before expanding around the US. It opened its Houston office in 1972 to design offices for Pennzoil Company and in 1979 opened its New York office.

Gensler's first office in San Fracisco
Gensler opened its first office on San Francisco’s 555 Clay Street

Gensler also expanded overseas – first in London in 1988, followed by Japan and Hong Kong in 1993. The firm opened its first China office in Shanghai in 2002.

Notable infrastructure projects undertaken by the firm include the long-term renovation of San Francisco International Airport, which lasted 35 years, and the revamp of the JetBlue T5 terminal at John F Kennedy International Airport in 2004.

Historic photo of Art Gensler
Art Gensler founded his practice in 1965

The firm has designed offices for the New York Times, The Washington Post, the London Stock Exchange, the Salesforce Tower and the interiors for the new US Embassy in London.

Recent projects include the renovation and expansion of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and an extension for the Eagle County Regional Airport in Colorado.

CityCenter Las Vegas by Gensler
Gensler designed the 67-acre CityCenter in Las Vegas. Photo by Jon Schmidt and MGMM

Gensler was also once fired by Steve Jobs. Gensler designed the first 100 stores for Apple, but after the studio began working for Microsoft it was dismissed by Jobs.

“Steve heard, got me on the phone and said, ‘This is Steve Jobs. You’re fired.’ And Steve was right and we were wrong,” Gensler told the Nob Hill Gazette. “After Steve’s death, our firm was rehired by Apple.”

San Francisco airport interiors by Gensler
Gensler worked on the San Francisco redesign and expansion for almost four decades. Photo by Bruce Damonte

Gensler always put the success of his practice down to its business-mindedness, writing a book called Art’s Principles to mark the 50th anniversary of founding the firm.

“When I started Gensler, there was a day when I woke up and realized that although I had 22 people working for me, I didn’t know what I was doing when it came to managing the business,” he said in an interview about the book.

“So I went to business school at night. I ended up hiring the professor of my class,” he added.

“We continually reinvest in our business, we offer competitive wages, reinvest in people, offer profit sharing—we incorporated all kinds of things that architects never thought about. I did this because I wanted to hire people and ask them to stay forever, not work on a project-to-project basis.”

Gensler stepped down as chairman in 2010 but continued to serve as an advisor until his death this week. He is survived by his four sons and 1o grandchildren.

Images courtesy of Gensler unless otherwise stated.

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Batek Architekten transforms Berlin arthouse cinema with saturated colours and neon lights

Blue neon detailing in Berlin cinema

Local studio Batek Architekten has refurbished the historic Blauer Stern cinema in Berlin using neon lights that reference the original mouldings in its foyer.

Batek Architekten opened up the foyer of the historic building, which has stood in Pankow in north Berlin since 1870, by removing a glass and steel structure that separated it from the hallway.

Cinema foyer with red velvet seats
Above: the foyer has deep red and purple colours. Top image: a patterned fabric clads the walls of the main auditorium

The newly-opened up entrance area of the arthouse cinema is now a welcoming space with a long, curved bench and a refreshment counter clad in zigzaging metal.

Here, the studio chose to use a saturated, deep red for the velvet-clad seating, the counter, and a mobile snack bar. It complemented the red hue with an aubergine colour that climbs halfway up the walls.

Refreshment counter and mobile snack bar in Berlin cinema
A refreshment counter is wrapped in red metal

“The walls here are bicoloured: the bottom two metres are painted deep aubergine and above in pale grey,” Batek Architekten founder Patrick Batek told Dezeen.

“We further chose metal zigzag cladding for the main counter – representing a classical pattern with a modern material. For the countertop, we chose brass as a warm and classy material.”

Zig-zagging metal cladding on counter
A painting in the foyer informed the colour choices

A painting that hangs in the foyer of the 435-square-metre cinema informed the colour choice for the entrance area.

In Blauer Stern’s main auditorium, the same saturated colour palette has been kept and the painting has been adapted to decorate the cinema walls.

“In the main auditorium, we covered the walls in a colourfully-printed fabric whose pattern we based on an artwork called ‘Lange Reise’ – ‘Long Journey’ by artist Mechtild van Ahlers, which hangs in the foyer,” Batek explained.

“Scaled up to wall size in the auditorium, the red tones of floral and cloud-like forms float across a deep blue background. The curtain, ceiling and corridor are saturated in powerful red tones, typical for cinemas.”

Cinema auditorium with neon decorations
Neon lights curve around arched entrances

The second, smaller auditorium was in good condition, so the cinema’s owner, Yorck Cinema, decided to leave it as it was.

Throughout the cinema, neon lights function as both a light source and as abstract art installations.

The studio designed these to reference the plaster ceiling in the foyer – the only original feature left in the building – and had them made by a local lighting firm.

Neon lights decorate a red ceiling
The pattern of the foyer ceiling mouldings is picked up by the neon lights

“The lighting was inspired by the historical mouldings of the foyer ceiling whose graphic lozenge pattern has been partially traced with suspended LED light tracks,” Batek said.

“The diagonal pattern of the light tracks continues along the corridor leading to the two auditoriums. And of course, it references the neon sign ‘Blauer Stern’ hanging outside.”

Neon lights trace door opening
Blue neon references the cinema’s neon sign

Inside the main auditorium, neon light tubes were also used to trace the arched openings between the hallway and the auditorium itself.

The studio hopes it has given the cinema a modern update, while also respecting its past.

“When we are asked to refurbish spaces, we pay great attention to the existing space and its character,” Batek said.

Among Batek Architekten’s other Berlin projects are a duplex townhouse made from stacked volumes and a beauty store with concrete and steel accents.

Photography is by Marcus Wend.


Project credits:

Team: Anke Müller, Julia Jensen, Patrick Batek
Lighting concept: Batek Architekten

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